By Tito Perdue
(Cover art by Alex Kurtagic)
Literary renegade Tito Perdue’s new novel, The Node, is a dystopian comedy set later this century in an ultra-multi-cultural Third-World America where Caucasians (or “Cauks” as they’re called) are by law a disenfranchised minority.
In this wretched and wasted, yet still consumer-crazed land, pollution has ruined the atmosphere, overpopulation caused by third-world immigration has destroyed all the resources, and the most valued currency is the Chinese Yuan.
Looting, murder, robbery and pederasty are all considered normal, and an infamous prison called The Wedge is reserved for whites suspected of having “ethnocentric tendencies.”
Everything, it seems, in this bad new world is named (or re-named) after Martin Luther King Junior: streets, lakes, rivers, buildings, bridges, and New York City.
The book’s un-named 44-year-old protagonist, forced to abandon his rural Tennessee homestead, makes a dangerous 4-mile trek to “the city,” seeking propane for warmth, and visits a “node,” a covert compound peopled with white men and women endeavoring to illegally repopulate themselves. These “nodists” are part of an ever-expanding network of such groups, or franchises, they call them, that are springing up all over the country.
Here, the hero meets and talks with the movement’s founder, Larry Schneider, an eccentric idealist obsessed with a yen to “turn the world around” and who complains bitterly about their race’s bizarre predicament:
“Odd business, no? We spent a thousand years putting together some advantages for ourselves, and now we’re supposed to give them all away.”
“Yeah. Everybody’s good except us. We’re bad.”
“Precisely. Entirely appropriate that black people, yea and Asians too, should look to their interests. But don’t you try it!”
Sympathetic with their cause, the novice decides to stay among them. Returning home, he later learns, would do no good anyway, since in his absence, the government has given his house and acreage to Cambodians for the sake of “diversity.”
Larry Schneider eventually recruits “our man,” (as Perdue often calls his protagonist) to go on a mission to rendezvous with an out-of-state contingent of like-minded whites and create a new node.
Once he finally finds his comrades, our man and his nuevo nodists, after many mishaps and misadventures, appropriate a piece of abandoned farmland and horde a supply of ammunition, guns, explosives, pharmaceuticals, food, and synthetic water. They then build a twenty-foot wall around the compound and set to work making babies and raising cattle.
Eventually, they win over a large part of the local population (nine counties worth) with their philosophy and create a micro-nation called Peluria, which is to be measured, as the movement’s founder puts it “not by prosperity, but by the quality of men.”
But one is left wondering, will the Cauks prevail? Will the white race survive? Will they be “the winners” who get to write their own history, outnumbered, maligned, and despised as they are in that nightmare state that used to be America?
One can guess that Perdue had considerable fun writing The Node. Though the magical realism, so abundant in his other works, is not as prevalent here, the novel does contain a number of inter-textual references and inside jokes (another characteristic of Perdue’s fiction).
When, for instance, the protagonist overhears a mother “teaching her child the rudiments of what sounded like the old-fashioned English of a hundred years before,” he wonders:
Was this indeed the tongue that held sway in North America once, the dialect of Wolfe, Faulkner, and Perdue?
And later, he happens upon a faded and forgotten manuscript in a drawer titled Morning Crafts (a book of Perdue’s due to be published before the end of this year).
From Opportunities in Alabama Agriculture, to The Sweet-Scented Manuscript, to The New Austerities, to Lee, to Fields of Asphodel(and a number of other yet to be published novels) Perdue’s entire oeuvre involves a fictionalized version of his ancestors, his family, and himself (as his brazen alter-ego, Leland Pefley).
But The Node is the first work in which the American South’s most luminous radical reactionary ruminates upon and prognosticates about the future of the white race and the fate of his (and also our) descendents.